When Joel Embiid is on the court this season, the Sixers have outscored opponents by 7.3 points per 100 possessions, the equivalent of a 57 win team.
However, when he has sat, Philadelphia has been outscored by 6.8 points per 100, the equivalent of a 23-win team.
That disparity was evident Tuesday night when, with Embiid out due to back tightness for a second straight game, the Sixers turned the ball over, had poor shot selection down the stretch, and lost at home to the Sacramento Kings. The game before the Sixers lost to the Bulls. Now it looks like the tight back Embiid got when playing 49 minutes of a triple-overtime game against the Thunder last Friday will have him out a couple of more games, but not Christmas Day against the Knicks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Despite the likelihood of resting his back for the rest of the week, there’s optimism that Embiid will be fit to return for the Sixers’ game against the Knicks on Monday, league sources said.
The Sixers are being very cautious with Embiid’s health. Stop me if you’ve heard that before, but it’s the right course of action.
Embiid is averaging 24.1 points, 11 rebounds and 1.9 blocks a game this season and has emerged as an All-NBA level center. He should be an All-Star in Los Angeles come February. And all of that is the reason the Sixers maxed him out with a $146.5 million contract this summer. Philly is going to think about the big picture, not the next couple of games.